Instagram: The Best Way to Document Memories or the Culprit behind the “Me, Me, Me!” Culture?
“Do you have an Instagram account? That's cool. I have an Instagram account, too. Wanna see it? I took some really cool pictures of my friend's dog. Hey, I promise to follow you if you follow me. How many followers do you have? That's it? Hmm, well I have 342. Oh … wait. My mom's calling me …”
*answers phone, complains about what is said, hangs up*
“It's my mom. She said I have to go clean my room, and then I have to take a nap before I go to Grandma's house.”
That right there is just a little glimpse of what it be like if 8-year-olds had their own Instagram account — you know, similar to what a little yippy dog would be like after you give her a new ball to play with. Luckily, Instagram requires their users to be at least 13 years old in order to start an account. However, there are those who have taken care of that “problem.”
Keira Cannon is someone who actually receives payment for taking pictures of her child and managing his Instagram account. And she's not the only one.
In an article done by The New York Times, we're offered a glimpse into the world where you hire a professional photographer and get paid for your Instagram photos. Cannon's son, 5-year-old Princeton, poses for professional-quality photos of him in clothing that has been gifted from clothing stores that are looking to use the popularity of his Instagram account as a place to get people to see his clothes. I mean, he does have 6,495 followers as of now, so they would definitely have their clothes being seen.
For me, this brings up a lot of questions concerning the ethics and the long-term effects that this could have on Princeton — or any child who is being forced to pose for his mom so she can make some money off of his photos. It's almost borderline prostitution. Granted, she's not selling him for sex, but she is selling his image — the image of his body — for her own gains, and clothing companies are dressing him in their things for their own gains as well. Multiple people and/or groups of people are using the body of this boy for money.
It wouldn't' be so bad if Princeton got a cut of the check; however, there is nowhere in the article that says Princeton sees any earnings going to him.
On top of that, I worry that focusing that much attention on a 5-year-old — attention that is literally being given from all over the world — is going to create a sense of elitism. I don't like to judge parents' parenting tactics, but this one just seems like a method that would put into the child's mind that their looks — their self — is of superior value because they have thousands and thousands of followers.
What do you think? Do you see this as problematic? Am I being ridiculous in comparing what these parents are doing to prostitution?
And if you're wondering, I do have an Instagram account — it's a shared account with my wife. We take a selfie together every day and hope to do so for … ever. She's really pretty, and I
desperately need the attention am a nice guy, so go check it out!